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Special Issue: 

New Directions in 
Taino Research 

Nuevas direcciones en las 
investigaciones sobre la herencia Taina 

Edited by Dr. Lynne Guitar 


♦ Lynne Guitar 

♦ R J. Ferbel 

♦ Juan Carlos Martinez Cruzado 

♦ Fernando Luna Calderon 

♦ Jorge Ulloa 

December 2002 

The Journal of Caribbean Amerindian History and Anthropology 

ISSN 1562-5028 

Ferbel & Guitar 


Conference and Exhibition 

Introduction by 

Pedro Ferbel and Lynne Guitar 

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Poster for the Conference 

On Wednesday, August 14, 2002, 
we attended the first conference of 
what we hope will be an ongoing 
series focusing on "New Directions 
in the Study of Tamo Heritage" at 
the Dominican Republic's National 
Museum of Dominican Man, Santo 
Domingo. This conference and 
exhibition signaled a new approach 
to Tamo studies as it focused on 
the survival of the Native People of 
the Caribbean as opposed to the 
traditional academic orientation that 
assumes Tamo cultural and 
biological extinction. Presentations 
from historical, anthropological, and 
genetic perspectives, along with cultural exhibitions showcasing contemporary Tamo 
heritage, suggested the beginning of a new understanding of the history and identity of 
the multi-ethnic, creolized Caribbean. Multi-disciplinary evidence demonstrates that 
Tamo culture and bloodlines survived on the margins of Spanish colonial society from 
the earliest period of colonization to the present day. The conference was a great 
success in elevating the position of Tamo studies from the dusty shelves of artifact 
collectors to an informed dialogue about the politics of history, race, and culture, and the 
composition of national identity. In this way, the cultural institutions of the Dominican 
Republic could see their role as leaders in the evaluation of culture for all the people of 
the Dominican Republic. 

The conference represented a first in collaboration among several Dominican cultural 
organizations and foreign institutions. The regional Archeological Museum at Altos de 
Chavon, directed by Arlene Alvarez, and the National Museum of Dominican Man, 
through Glenis Tavarez, one of their vice-directors, collaborated with independent 
scholar Lynne Guitar to organize the event and to bring in specialists from Puerto Rico 
and the United States. With financial assistance from Dominican institutions and the 
Centro Franklin of the United States Embassy, the conference and its linked events 
became a reality. Among those linked events, the national Museum of Natural History 
arranged a workshop on mitochondrial DNA analysis for Dominican scientists, under the 
guidance of Dr. Fernando Luna Calderon (director of the museum) and Dr. Juan Carlos 

© 2002, P. J. Ferbel & Lynne Guitar 
KACIKE: The Journal of Caribbean Amerindian History and Anthropology 

ISSN 1562-5028 - 

Ferbel & Guitar 


Martinez Cruzado from Puerto Rico; the workshop took place the day after the 
conference, on August 15. 

The conference actually began the evening of Tuesday, August 13, with a small cocktail 
reception at the elegant Pat'e Palo restaurant, off the Plaza Espana in the Colonial 
Zone, facing Diego Colon's Alcazar on the Ozama River, or, as it is locally called, the 
Columbus House. Artisans whose work was being showcased during the next day's 
conference, conference speakers, museum directors, and diplomatic guests gathered 
over drinks and picadera to become acquainted and discuss their work before the next 
day's sessions began. 

The conference officially began on Wednesday morning with brief 
presentations by the directors of both sponsoring museums-Arlene 
Alvarez, director of the Archaeological Museum of Altos de Chavon; 
and Carlos Andujar, director of the Museum of Dominican Man. The 
directors summarized their current research programs and their visions 
and challenges for developing their institutions. This led to an important 
discussion about protecting national patrimony and archaeological 
heritage. The invited lecturers followed, beginning with historian Dr. 
Lynne Guitar with her presentation on "Documenting the Myth of the 
Extinction of the Tamo Culture" and Dr. Pedro Ferbel with his 
anthropological work on "The Survival of Tafno Culture in the 
Dominican Republic." These presentations led to an intensive conversation with the 
other panelists and the audience, which included professional researchers, students, 
and interested general citizenry. After a break for lunch, we returned to hear lectures by 
Dominican physical anthropologist Dr. Fernando Luna Calderon 
on "Tamo Mitochondrial DNA in the Dominican Republic" and 
Puerto Rican biologist Dr. Juan Carlos Martinez Cruzado on The 
Use of Mitochondrial DNA to Discover Pre-Columbian Migrations 
to the Caribbean: Results for Puerto Rico and Expectations for the 
Dominican Republic." After these presentations, there was another 
flurry of discussion. Conversation moved between disciplines and 
prompted many exclamations of interest and sharing of ideas 
among researchers and institutions. In the last session, Dr. Jorge 
Ulloa of Cuba outlined the state of archaeology and directed Tafno 
research in his country, and Jose Guerrero and Gabriel Atilles did ' Dr Fer nando i_u 
the same for the Dominican Republic. caidemn 

Dr. Juan Carlos 
Martinez Cruzado 


In the salon immediately outside the conference room, there were simultaneous 
exhibitions all day long of Tamo-inspired textiles created by Gloriver Cordero Wright, 
Tafno ceramic replicas created by the Hermanos Guillen, Tamo-inspired ceramics 
created by Rafael Sepulveda, cassabe and other yucca-based products prepared in the 
ancient Tafno way (with modern adaptations) by "Mecho" Castillo Reyes of C&cique, 
and Tafno musical instruments presented by the family of Roman Perez, representing 
the New- York-based Grupo Maisiti Yacayeque Tafno. Roman, his wife Diana, and their 

© 2002, P. J. Ferbel & Lynne Guitar 
KACIKE: The Journal of Caribbean Amerindian History and Anthropology 

ISSN 1562-5028 - 

Ferbel & Guitar 


two children, Gabriel and Sofiya, closed the conference in a gala way by presenting an 
exhibition of Tamo dancing and singing, encouraging all the audience to join in. 

Sofiya Perez 

After the conference, a group of us participated in three days of 
anthropological and biological field study in the region around San Juan 
de la Maguna in the southwestern mountains, Cacique-Moncion in the 
northwestern mountains, and in Boca Nueva/Los Cocos, along the 
Atlantic coast just east of Puerto Plata, as well as in small towns along 
the scenic mountain route (La Ruta Turistica) that crosses the mountains 
between Santiago and Puerto 
Plata/Sosua. The group's principal 
work of collecting hair samples for 

mtDNA analysis and interviewing the volunteer 

donors was led by Dr. Juan Carlos Martinez 

Cruzado, assisted by Dr. Lynne Guitar, Dr. Pedro 

Ferbel, Lie. Glenis Tavarez, Lie. Arlene Alvarez, 

and the entire family of Roman Perez. This study 

not only will contribute to our knowledge of 

Quisqueyan Tamo origins and their relationship to 

the Tamos of Boriquen, but also furthered our 

ability for institutional sharing and planning for future events-publications, workshops, 

seminars, and what we hope will become an ongoing series of conferences and 

exhibitions highlighting new directions in Tamo Heritage. 

Herewith, in this special edition of KACIKE, we would like to share with you the 
papers that were presented at the NEW DIRECTIONS IN THE STUDY OF TAfNO 
HERITAGE conference and exhibition. Pedro Ferbel translated his own to English from 
Spanish (note that there are slight differences in the two versions); the rest were 

Pedro Ferbel and Fernando Luna Calderon 

© 2002, P. J. Ferbel & Lynne Guitar 
KACIKE: The Journal of Caribbean Amerindian History and Anthropology 

ISSN 1562-5028 - 

Ferbel & Guitar 


translated by Lynne Guitar, who takes sole responsibility for any errors committed in 
doing so. Unfortunately, written papers were not made available by either Jose 
Guerrero or Gabriel Atilles. 

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Dr. Lynne Guitar and the conference 
featured in Rumbo Aug. 26, 2002. 

© 2002, P. J. Ferbel & Lynne Guitar 
KACIKE: The Journal of Caribbean Amerindian History and Anthropology 

ISSN 1562-5028 -